Reviewer: Kane Tung
Grade: 96% (A)
Although most people may argue with me on this point, I have to say that Laputa: Castle in the Sky is the most "Miyazaki" of all the director's creations. What do I mean by that? Well, Miyazaki's movies are never really about beginnings or ends. It's about heart and this movie, more than any other of his movies, is most about heart.
From the start, as Sheeta falls from the sky and music begins playing, the imagery and sounds perfectly envelop you with the spirit of what the entire movie is about: adventure and yearning. Hard-working, loyal Pazu and innocent Sheeta seems to be the culmination of character development Miyazaki has been doing over the years, from Future Boy Conan to Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro. The other characters are developed just as well and the pirates, especially, are fun, dynamic, and hilarious.
Miyazaki's love for all things that has to do with flying really show through, as you see wonderful scenes and designs of flying ships, storm clouds, and finally, the flying lands. This is a beautiful anime that should not be missed.
Reviewer: Clyde Adams III
Grade: 96% (A)
Castle in the Sky is an epic fantasy adventure, full of action and thrills, images of great beauty, grandeur, and sadness, and a moving musical score by Jo Hisaishi. As in many of Miyazaki's films, the viewer follows the characters from ground level, to the depths of mines and dungeons, to high in the sky.
The orphan girl, Sheeta, is the target of pirates and military schemers because of her heritage, a heritage of which she herself is barely aware. She is seen, correctly, as the key to the enormous wealth and power of the semi-legendary floating city of Laputa.
One of the most beautiful scenes is in the mines, where Sheeta and her friend and champion, the orphan boy Pazu, are shown the glowing veins of levitation stone in the cavern walls.
It is hard not to see Sheeta's hidden power as a symbol of the untapped power of the subconscious mind. In one of the movie's most powerful scenes, Sheeta, imprisoned in a military fortress, musingly recites a charm from her childhood, in the Laputian language. To her and everyone's astonishment, a broken Laputian robot deep in the fortress' dungeon revives itself. The robot lays waste to the fortress trying to reach Sheeta and protect her.
Laputa itself, the once magnificent city in the sky, is a poignant, depopulated ruin. Overgrown with vegetation, its maintenance robots breaking down one by one, its most notable feature is a huge monument to the dead. A splendid civilization, tragically and irretrievably lost.
Reviewer: Kenryoku Maxis
Grade: Overall: 9
From: Anime Okashi
Miyazaki is by far one of my favorite creators of anime ever. His first
movie, Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind won him fame and established him and his company. His
second movie, Laputa: Castle in the Sky took a step further than Nausicaa by centering the
story around two children running from pirates, the government and the rest of the world.
Using by far the best graphics at that time and his standard of great characters,
wonderful comedy and in-depth plot, Laputa was a powerful and fun sequel to Nausicaa.
The music is one of those soundtracks that works quite well with the movie, but not much to listen to alone. Part of this is because the voices are used so well that the music is not noticed and therefore not emphasized. But the voices are just outstanding. Virtually all of the voice actors are not that famous but are quite good. The pirates couldn't have been better and Pazu has one of my favorite voices ever. As for sheeta and the main villain, there voices are quite dramatic and in the case of sheeta, one that I wish could be in more shows and movies. I think this movie is spectacular and!well worth the almost 2 hours of running time. Between the comedy, drama and great characters, the movie is great all the way through.
Grade: Overall: Buy
One of the best anime classics of all time, by Studio Ghibli. An epic story of two children trying to prevent an ancient flying castle from falling into the wrong hands. I'm lucky to have the fansub - unfortunately Disney has bought the rights to all Studio Ghibli films, so expect major censorship and loose translations. (Japanese-only imports are still available from places like Tokyopop.